The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina TV show is slated to debut on Netflix in 2018, but don’t expect to see any Riverdale favorites popping by to say hello. Contrary to what many had assumed, and also in direct contrast to the comics, the Sabrina TV series won’t exist in the same universe as Riverdale; despite the two towns supposedly being just across Sweet Water River from each other, the actual shows will be separate.
Riverdale has built up a huge fanbase since making its debut on The CW in 2017. Now into its second season, the show continues to build on its popularity, and news of a spinoff came as little surprise. Fans of Archie Comics and its characters had been asking for an appearance from Sabrina the Teenage Witch, and many had thought she would guest star in a Halloween episode, or maybe at the end of season one. Neither of those ideas came to fruition, though. Instead, Riverdale showrunner Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa went one better.
Ordered straight to series at Netflix (not The CW), The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina is rapidly building its cast, with Mad Men’s Kiernan Shipka cast as the teenage witch, while Lucy Davis takes on the role of Sabrina’s Aunt Hilda. Given that the Sabrina series is a spinoff from Riverdale, many had assumed we would see a crossover at some point, or maybe even some Riverdale characters appearing in Sabrina‘s pilot episode. However, speaking to Vulture, Lili Reinhart (who plays Riverdale’s Betty Cooper) says that’s simply not going to happen:
“I think Betty’s solely in the Riverdale world and it doesn’t make sense for a crossover. That’s why the decision was ultimately made to move to Netflix — to make these Riverdale and Sabrina shows completely separate universes. I don’t really know what Roberto’s plan is for Sabrina or what aspect of the supernatural or magic will be used. I know that doesn’t exist in Riverdale. At least right now. So it wouldn’t make sense for those two worlds to collide. So, I’d say don’t expect Betty to be in that world.”
That revelation might well come as a disappointment to many, but it also makes sense. As ridiculous as Riverdale sometimes is, it hasn’t yet delved into the supernatural realm, unlike its influence, Twin Peaks. To suddenly see those characters appearing in Greendale, where Sabrina lives, and accepting that magic and the supernatural are things that happen without question, would seem more than a little strange. Likewise, if Sabrina wanders across to Riverdale, and is sitting in Pop Tate’s diner with Betty, Jughead and the gang, are we to accept that she only uses dark powers when in Greendale?
It’s easy to see that the whole thing could become a confusing, inconsistent mess, so maybe for now it’s best kept separate. That said, Sabrina is not making its debut on The CW, but it’s going to be heavily reliant on Riverdale fans to give the show the fanbase it needs over on Netflix. With many already heavily invested in Archie and co., are fans going to have the time and passion for a totally unconnected spinoff? Interestingly, Reinhart doesn’t completely rule out the possibility of a crossover further down the line, which is similar to what CW Mark Pedowitz recently told a Riverdale podcast. If indeed it does ever happen, exactly how and why it all takes place will be interesting for sure.
The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina debuts on Netflix in 2018.
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